An unlikely but appealing team drives this often thrilling whodunit.


In Veiga’s debut mystery novel, a soon-to-be-retired New York City cop investigates when a Hollywood and Broadway star literally loses his head.

When Detective Judy Hunter’s co-workers throw her a surprise retirement party, she’s thrilled. It’s a great capper to a long day of investigating a decapitation; the victim was famed actor Ethan Gregory, who was found in the presidential suite of a high-end Manhattan hotel. At the party, Judy’s colleague Fred Gibbins’ 22-year-old daughter, Charlotte, announces that she’s decided not to become a doctor; she wants to be a cop like her dad. Fred was proud of his daughter’s acceptance to Harvard Medical School, so he’s crushed and leaves the party. Two days later, Charlotte finds him dead, hanging from a rope. Most believe that Fred, whose wife left him about 18 months ago, committed suicide. However, Charlotte finds a note, apparently from her dad’s murderer. The message is similar to one found days earlier in decapitated Ethan’s mouth. What connects the actor with Fred? Charlotte and Judy decide to visit Fred’s hometown, where they discover that he and Ethan were once on the same high school football team. After another murder, the women believe that someone wants payback for something—but what? Veiga gives his story a quick pace, which makes the pages turn just as rapidly, and his teaming of the feisty Charlotte with the experienced but adventurous Judy feels fresh. An overabundance of minor characters appear over the course of the story, but readers are sure to enjoy one of them in particular: Rush, Judy’s sweet spaniel. They may have a few quibbles with the prose, however, which includes excessive references to Charlotte as “the redhead” and odd descriptions, such as Charlotte’s beau’s wearing a “dressing gown” after waking from “the land of dreamers.”

An unlikely but appealing team drives this often thrilling whodunit.

Pub Date: May 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77719-190-0

Page Count: 467

Publisher: ISBN CANADA

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2020

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Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

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Horrormeister King follows a boy’s journey from childhood to adolescence among the dead—and their even creepier living counterparts.

Jamie Conklin sees dead people. Not for very long—they fade away after a week or so—but during that time he can talk to them, ask them questions, and compel them to answer truthfully. His uncanny gift at first seems utterly unrelated to his mother Tia’s work as a literary agent, but the links become disturbingly clear when her star client, Regis Thomas, dies shortly after starting work on the newest entry in his bestselling Roanoke Saga, and Tia and her lover, NYPD Detective Liz Dutton, drive Jamie out to Cobblestone Cottage to encourage the late author to dictate an outline of his latest page-turner so that Tia, who’s fallen on hard times, can write it in his name instead of returning his advance and her cut. Now that she’s seen what Jamie can do, Liz takes it on herself to arrange an interview in which Jamie will ask Kenneth Therriault, a serial bomber who’s just killed himself, where he’s stowed his latest explosive device before it can explode posthumously. His post-mortem encounter with Therriault exacts a high price on Jamie, who now finds himself more haunted than ever, though he never gives up on the everyday experiences in which King roots all his nightmares.

Crave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7890-9649-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Hard Case Crime

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.


Patterson and Ellis put their characters through hell in this hard-edged second installment of their Black Book series after The Black Book (2017).

A young girl is one of four people gunned down in a “very, very bad” K-Town drive-by shooting in Chicago. Police are under intense political pressure to solve it, so Detective Billy Harney is assigned to the Special Operations Section to put the brakes on the gang violence on the West Side. His new partner is Detective Carla Griffin, whom colleagues describe as “sober as an undertaker” and “as fun as a case of hemorrhoids.” And she looks like the last thing he needs, a pill popper. (But is she?) Department muckety-mucks want Harney to fail, and Griffin is supposed to spy on him. The poor guy already has a hell of a backstory: His daughter died and his wife committed suicide (or did she?) four years earlier, he’s been shot in the head, charged with murder (and exonerated), and helped put his own father in prison. (Nothing like a tormented hero!) Now the deaths still haunt him while he and Griffin begin to suspect they’re not looking at a simple turf war starring the Imperial Gangster Nation. Meanwhile, the captain in Internal Affairs is deep in the pocket of some bad guys who run an international human trafficking ring, and he loathes Harney. The protagonist is lucky to have Patti, his sister and fellow detective, as his one reliable friend who lets him know he’s being set up. The authors do masterful work creating flawed characters to root for or against, and they certainly pile up the troubles for Billy Harney. Abundant nasty twists will hold readers’ rapt attention in this dark, violent, and fast-moving thriller.

Top-drawer crime fiction. The authors are tough on the hero, but the hero is tough.

Pub Date: March 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49940-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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